The charity has helped almost 13,000 disadvantaged young people boost their self-confidence and improve their behaviour since it was founded in 2009. The addition of Lower Shockerwick Farm means 450 more children can be helped each year, meeting some of the increased demand from schools and local authorities for Jamie’s Farm’s unique Family, Farming and Therapy approach.
The charity runs five-day residential programmes which give children time and space to reflect, renew and determine a new path for themselves. In the homely environment of the farms, young people are given the opportunity to display their talents and show responsibility with real farm jobs, encouraging togetherness and an escape from the challenges of normal life.
Lower Shockerwick is set in the beautiful Box Valley, five miles outside Bath and neighbours the original Hill House Farm, where the charity began. The 200-acre farm includes a four-bedroom seventeenth century house, a cottage, and barns, all of which will be adapted for use by visiting school children with residential visits starting in Autumn 2024. The new site has been purchased with lending from sustainable bank, Triodos, plus fundraised income.
The charity believes in regenerative farming, woodland management and improving biodiversity. The addition of Lower Shockerwick Farm will significantly expand the scope for involving visiting young people in a nature-friendly approach to farming.
Jamie Feilden, co-founder and CEO of Jamie’s Farm, says: “The purchase of Lower Shockerwick Farm is a dream come true for Jamie's Farm. It is an incredible opportunity to expand our capacity and better meet the growing need for our proven therapeutic intervention, at a time when young people are facing some of the toughest challenges in decades. The farm has a sense of beauty, history and family and with sensitive redevelopment of the land and buildings we will bring it to life with children and animals. We are excited to open up these ancient doors to an additional 450 disadvantaged children a year. The previous owners, friends and neighbours, greatly believe in the work of Jamie’s Farm. Our cattle and sheep have been making the land their home for a number of years already and we are delighted to be able to extend our regenerative farming practices across the site, and – with the help of our visiting young people - work to improve the biodiversity of the environment though woodland and river management.
“We will plant hedges, regenerate the pastures and produce quality grass fed beef and lamb. We are currently fundraising for the redevelopment, and are very grateful to the individuals, trusts, and Triodos Bank who are already helping to fund the project. Their continued faith in our programme, which brings such life changing support to children at risk of social and academic exclusion at a crucial time in their lives, is invaluable.”
John Sharpe, business banking relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK, added: “We’ve worked with Jamie’s Farm for almost 14 years now and it has been wonderful to see the charity grow its network of sites and the number of young people that it can support during that time. As a bank focused on positive impact, we’re pleased to support this latest chapter at Lower Shockerwick Farm. The project is set to bring many benefits to young people, the wider community and biodiversity around the farm.”
Jack Carter, 22, first visited Jamie's Farm aged 12 and went on to visit six further times. He's now an ambassador for the charity, crediting his experiences there with changing his life. He says: ”Jamie’s Farm has been transformative in my life. I was put into the care system when I was 10, and moved in with my foster parents shortly after. I was very antisocial at that point. I hardly had any friends, I didn’t want to speak to anyone and I was very much in my own head. My visits boosted my confidence, raised my self-esteem and gave me hope.
"Back when I was 12 and coming for my first visit, I didn't see a future for myself, I just saw coping. I was no longer in touch with any of my family and that was very disconcerting, I didn’t know what would happen to me. But Jamie’s Farm gave me massive support, now I’m a part of their family and they’re a part of mine.
"I'm really pleased and excited that so many more young people will now be able to experience the incredible work that Jamie's Farm does, and I know that hundreds more young people's lives will now be transformed every year, just like mine has been."
Social and academic exclusion are serious problems affecting young people in the UK today. When children are not engaging fully with their education it can be difficult for them to see their potential as successful people. The consequences of this are likely to be felt well into adulthood, with the biggest impact on employability, wellbeing and relationships. Jamie’s Farm offers a unique, preventative solution to empower young people to change course.
Notes to editors:
Jamie’s Farm has had a considerable impact on visiting children:
- 76%of young people referred for behaviour showed improvement (2020-21)
- 57%of young people referred for self-esteem showed improvement (2020-21)
- 67% of young people referred for communication skills showed improvement (2020-21)
- 89%of visiting staff felt the visit would improve their practice working with young people (2020-21)
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About Jamie's Farm
Jamie’s Farm’s story
Jamie’s Farm was established in 2009 by Tish and Jamie Feilden. Jamie brought lambs from his home in Wiltshire to the comprehensive school in Croydon where he was teaching, charging students to look after them. He observed that it was frequently the children who struggled most to focus and maintain positive relationships in school who benefited most from the responsibility and nurture needed to tend to these animals. Jamie came up with the idea of taking pupils back to his home farm in Wiltshire. Using his own farming experience and the 30 years’ worth of experience that Tish, Jamie’s mother, had built up as a psychotherapist, they developed an approach based on Farming, Family and Therapy.
Family Farming and Therapy
The charity creates an environment where young people feel respected. They are given the opportunity to work with the animals, grow food, cook meals for each other and explore the countryside. All mobile phones and electronics are handed in to ensure there is real distance from pressures and distractions at home. Children live and work on site in small groups of 10–12, supported by experienced staff who focus activities on positive and tangible outcomes. A visit to Jamie’s Farm does not end when young people leave. Alongside the core components of Farming, Family and Therapy is a Legacy strand. Through this, the charity supports schools and students when they return, to embed the changes and achieve a greater long-term impact.
As well as the original Hill House Farm in the Box Valley, Jamie’s Farm has residential farms in Hereford (established in 2015), Monmouth (2018) and Lewes (2019). Jamie’s Farm Skipton, currently open to day visits, was added earlier this year. The charity also runs Oasis Farm Waterloo, London (2015), in partnership with Oasis Hub Waterloo.
About Triodos Bank
Founded in 1980, Triodos Bank has become a frontrunner in sustainable banking globally. As an independent bank that promotes responsible and transparent banking, it does not see any conflict between a focus on people and the planet and a good financial return. Instead it believes that they reinforce each other in the long-term.
Triodos Bank has banking activities in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Spain and Germany as well as Investment Management activities based in the Netherlands but active globally. Triodos Bank co-founded the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a network of sustainable banks. Together these banks want to grow sustainable banking and its impact on the real economy substantially.
Triodos Bank UK Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Triodos Bank NV. Registered Office: Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AS. Registered in England and Wales Company No. 11379025. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 817008. VAT reg no 793493383.